By now Hurricane Sandy is leaving New York and hopefully most of you are safe and sound with your families. Sadly, many New Yorkers are facing a slow return back to normal life. Many communities around NYC and the state have experienced record flooding and building and street damage. As we all work together to repair our homes and communities, please keep this list of resources and benefits available to you handy.
If you need disaster assistance immediately, contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or the NYS emergency assistance hotline that can help people and businesses hit hard by the storm start rebuilding. The number is855-NYS-SAND(Y) or 855-697-7263. When you call the hotline you will be able to speak directly with an expert on the phone that you explain your situation to and then get advise on how to apply for eligible assistance.
We’ll be updating this list as we learn about new benefits and services available for the recovery, so make sure to check back regularly:
FEMA has released a statement listing the type of federal aid available for New Yorkers. The full list of federal aid available is here. You can start the disaster assistance application process by either (1) registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or (2) by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Internal Revenue Services (IRS):
The IRS provides tax counseling and assistance to taxpayers whose property has been damaged or lost in a Federally declared disaster area. Taxpayers also have the option to deduct non-reimbursed casualty losses that occurred in a Federally declared disaster area in the year the disaster occurred or file an amended return and deduct the loss in the year immediately preceding the year the disaster occurred. For more info click here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them. For more information on how eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures and more click here.
National Disaster Legal Aid: http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/. This website includes information on disaster-related legal services.
Small Business Administration (SBA):
has comprehensive disaster recovery services, available in some cases for business owners and non-owners alike. Renters and homeowners, a group that includes most sole proprietors, can borrow up to $40,000 for repairs and to replace things like appliances, furniture, automobiles, and clothing. People who own homes can apply for as much as $200,000 for repairs to their primary residences.
Business owners, whether private or not-for-profit, whose organizations are damaged in a designated disaster area, can apply for loans up to $2 million for real property, machinery and other equipment, fixtures, and leasehold improvements. The loans can be used for both uninsured and underinsured damages.
New York State Resources
NYS Hurricane Sandy Emergency Assistance Hotline: 855-NYS-SAND(Y) or 855-697-7263
If you’ve purchased food with food stamps that has been spoiled due to flooding/power outage: Hunger Solutions New York encourages you to follow USDA food guidelines during any power outage. Should a SNAP recipient need to discard of any food purchased with benefits because of a loss of power longer than 4 hours or due to flooding, they can request replacement SNAP benefits.
You can use the form titled, “Request for Replacement of Food Purchased with Food Stamps Benefits” athttp://www.otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/ to request replacement of food purchased with SNAP benefits. This form is available in six other languages: Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Italian.
New York State Bar Association is providing NY residents with free legal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. To inquire about this service please call their special legal hotline at 1-800-699-5636. You can also visit www.NYSBA.org/Sandy for more info.
New York Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), also referred to as Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance, provides individuals that live or work in one of the counties declared as a disaster and have become unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy to be eligible for DUA relief. You may qualify for DUA even though you would not normally be eligible for UI benefits.. To see if you qualify and how to applyclick here.
LawHelp.org/NY has disaster relief information you can find by clicking on the Public Benefits topic and then the Disaster Relief and Information subtopic. Here is a direct link to this webpage on LawHelp.org/NY: Disaster Relief and Information.
NY Attorney General Price Gouging Complaint line:
If you have noticed that the price of goods and services have gone up since the hurricane passed New York, don’t stay silent! The NY Attorney General has issued a warning regarding the inflation of price of goods and services, you can read the complete warning here. If you have noticed this in your community please report this by calling the toll-free complaint line at: 1-800-771-7755.
United Way of New York has set up a Hurricane Sandy Emergency Fund that will address the near-term and long-term recovery needs of individuals, families and communities along the Eastern Seaboard that were impacted. Contributions to the Fund will be used by local United Ways in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia. United Way of New York City will charge no administrative fees. Stay tuned for more info on how you can access assistance from this fund. In the meantime, if you would like to donate to this fund click here: United Way Hurricane Sandy Emergency Fund.
Lawyers Alliance for New York if you are a nonprofit in New York that has questions about assisting relief efforts, emerging legal issues related to the disaster, or victims of Hurricane Sandy, contact Lawyers Alliance for support. Their number is (212) 219-1800.
Assisting Seniors or the medically vulnerable in NYC:
If you or someone you know — especially the elderly or medically-vulnerable — is in the 25th Senate District without power and stuck in a building in need of assistance — and it’s not an emergency — please contact Senator Daniel Squadron’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are without water, please also let me know. For emergencies, call 911.
In addition, the City announced that the National Guard, NYC Service, and the Salvation Army will be knocking on doors in all affected residential high-rises in the blackout zones that need it in order to identify seniors, medically-vulnerable, and those with disabilities who are currently stranded with no power, elevators, heat, or any water.
If you are interested in providing donations, services, volunteer etc to assist residents in NYC affected by Hurricane Sandy please visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycservice/home.html. Additional service opportunities will be posted to this website as they arise. Please check back periodically for updates and more information.
NYC food and water distribution locations, for a full list of locations visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/foodandwater.html. Additional sites will be added to the list as information becomes available.
Legal Assistance for residents of NYC: NYLAG has launched a new Storm Relief Effort which will place their staff at disaster relief centers and community-based organizations and hospitals. Their attorneys and volunteers will be onsite to provide legal advice to victims dealing with issues including FEMA claims, housing disputes, consumer matters and emergency public benefits. Those seeking immediate assistance with legal issues can call their new hotline at 212-584-3365 or email at StormHelp@nylag.org. For more info you can also visit: nylag.org/stormhelp.
NYC Communities for Change (NYCC) can help you apply for FEMA aid and making sure your claim is processed as soon as possible if you’ve already applied for help. Click here for more info on how NYCC can help you with your claim.
To find out where you can volunteer in New York City, go to: http://www.nycservice.org/#s orhttp://www.dogoodrighthere.org/blog/tue-10302012-325pm/volunteer-help-after-storm
Notify NYC: Register for Notify NYC, a program designed to provide subscribers with real-time information about emergencies throughout all five boroughs. You can even specify which five zip codes interest you most. Registration is free via www.NYC.gov/notifynyc, by calling 311 or following @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
Dry Ice will be distributed by Con Ed throughout NYC. Here is info on where they will be on 11/2/12.
Legal Assistance for Long Island residents:
Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team (TLC HEART) will open next week to provide referrals, assistance and legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected by the storm. The Center will provide help in assessing eligibility and completing application forms for the wide range of emergency assistance available to storm victims, both individuals and small businesses (e.g., food stamps, government loans and grants); free legal consultation and advice on storm-related legal issues (e.g., insurance, landlord-tenant, consumer complaints, unemployment); assistance to members of the Touro Law community who are in need. Beginning next week, residents will be able to call the center at (631) 761-7198 and email email@example.com. For more information click here.
Local elected officials:
during this time do not hesitate to contact your local Senator, Congressperson, etc for assistance. These elected officials are working with the state and federal government to bring aid and assistance to your area; so they will be able to provide vital information and resources to you.
Google Crisis Map: is one of the best maps to help you find local shelters and traffic conditions in your area: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy.
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/ . If you are interested in donating funds, supplies, etc to your local Red Cross, go to this website to find the chapter closest to you.
Your local bank: The following banks have agreed to waive late fees, overdraft fees, etc in slew of the Hurricane. Each bank offers a slightly different deal, so make sure to call your bank to find out what they waiving and until when. The list of banks that are waiving fees are: